Aside from winning new business, the top challenges faced by law firms are improving operational efficiency and adapting to new technology.
This was the finding from the 2015 ALPMA/LexisNexis report, Preparing Australasian Law Firms for a Digital, Divergent, Differentiated Future.
These challenges are obviously linked. Technology can improve efficiency, which in turn provides better client service. And service has become king in the legal industry.
Today’s clients are cost conscious and want value for money. They do their research. They shop around. Clients are increasingly demanding more transparency – the pressure is on for firms to do more with less.
The constant buzz around all this may seem daunting, but there are many simple things you can do to start moving your firm forwards
Top tips for improving efficiency and adopting technology
1) Move processes online
The legal industry is moving online at an increasing pace. Yes, there are firms who still don’t have websites. But, on the other end of the spectrum, plenty have entire digital strategies in place.
These digital-ready firms are spearheading a completely new way of attracting business and practicing law. Conveyancing, filing and contracts are beginning to go digital. It’s only a matter of time before other processes follow.
The sooner you start the transition, the further ahead your firm will be.
2) Use integrated systems
Many firms waste a lot of time duplicating information across multiple platforms.
Integration technology ensures your information remains the same across practice management, document management, searching systems and more.
This can save you a significant amount of time by allowing you to do all your work through one system. It can also pre-populate data which removes the need for re-entry and helps avoid human error.
3) Give new technology a chance
The legal industry is a notoriously late adopter – but times are changing and ‘playing it safe’ is increasingly risky.
There is increasing demand for innovative firms. Keep an eye on the market to be aware of emerging technologies and stay ahead of your competitors.
Once you’ve identified such opportunities, don’t be afraid to at least try new technology.The more you test out, the better idea you’ll have of what works for your firm and what provides the most value to your client.
4) Incorporate technology into your workflow
The best way to stay ahead of the curve is to incorporate technology into your workflow as much as possible. Don’t view it as an add-on but an essential part of your process.
The right technology should fit seamlessly into your workflow and become second nature (it shouldn’t be an effort to use). Not only will this increase efficiency, but it will help to standardise processes across your firm.
5) Keep the focus on your clients
Your clients should be at the heart of every decision you make. How can you improve their experience and which technologies would provide the the greatest value?
Obviously, the more efficient you become the better service you can provide. But don’t lose sight of the end goal. Always know what your clients are looking for and figure out the best way to provide it – sometimes, this might not be the most efficient option.
The legal industry is changing at a faster pace than ever and it’s necessary to adapt or risk being left behind. Don’t view these developments as a threat, but as an opportunity. Don’t shy away from change, embrace it and work toward more efficient and effective processes.
About John Ahern
John Ahern is the CEO of InfoTrack. InfoTrack is a technology company with a leading SaaS platform that provides intelligent search and automated workflow for professionals across the legal, conveyancing, banking, finance, insolvency, surveying, mercantile, accountancy and government sectors.
We are an indispensable partner, whose proprietary software platform helps businesses swiftly find critical information pertaining to property, company, personal and national search data.
Our superior software can be seamlessly integrated into third party practice management systems, document management solutions and accounting software to deliver significant efficiencies. This allows our clients to improve their productivity, increase their profitability and stimulate their growth.